Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 14-10-2010, 21:52   #1
Registered User
 
speakeasy's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: La Paz
Boat: 41' Custom CC Cutter
Posts: 647
Hydraulic Steering Diagnosticians Needed

Picked up my new old boat in the Marina Seca Guaymas day before yesterday. Motored her up to San Carlos on 3.5 hour jaunt. Solid as a rock, engine ran great. Here's the problem. The boat kept wandering off to starboard, and I had to keep turning to port to correct to hold course. I must have turned the wheel 30+ times to port around the dial. No stops on the wheel. It did respond to port turns, so I had steering but literally had to turn left a quarter turn every five seconds or so to hold course. The PO spent two days rigging the boat with me in the dusty boatyard and going over systems and getting, I'm sure, exhausted answering all my questions. HE fulfilled his end of our bargain but I can probably only remember a quarter of all he said about systems. I saw him topping off the hydraulic fluid in the steering pump in the binnacle, but did not see him do the recommended procedure of turning hard over and holding for a half a minute, then the other way hard over, to let the air rise to the highest point in the system, which is the binnacle pump. I read that today in the boat book that has the manuals for all/most systems aboard.

Any diagnostical thoughts for me before I get at it again tomorrow?
__________________

__________________
"The nature of the universe is such that ends can never justify the means. On the contrary, the means always determine the end." ---Aldous Huxley
speakeasy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-10-2010, 17:56   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Australia, Central Coast.
Boat: Boden 36 Triple chine long keel steel, named Nekeyah
Posts: 776
If your hydraulics are OK then you should hardly ever have to add fluid ( in theory, never).
The fact that the PO topped it up suggests a leak somewhere which could cause steering creep. Another cause could be the piston seals in the hydraulic ram.
Try winding the wheel hard over until the rudder is on its stops, then continue with a few pounds pressure on the wheel. The wheel should not move any further. If it does, there is either a leak or fluid inside the system bypassing a seal.
Regards, Richard.
__________________

__________________
boden36 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-10-2010, 19:52   #3
Registered User
 
speakeasy's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: La Paz
Boat: 41' Custom CC Cutter
Posts: 647
Thanks, Richard. Thinking about it, I didn't see him adding fluid, but rather he had the binnacle open and we used a piece of paper as a dip stick. Reading further in 'the book' it says to leave the dipstick loose as it is the vent for air in the system to escape. He had put in a plug w/plumber's tape, so perhaps that has a bearing on the matter. Plus I drained a small amount at the ram from one of the two lines hanging down with stoppers in the end, turning a shutoff valve, so it may need a tad of fluid now.

Tomorrow I will check the level again after several hard over holds to bleed any air and see if it hardens up the steering. The book noted that all the air might not be out for a week after servicing, but it would be ready to use after an hour. That conforms with my experience with it on the initial run, ie., works but not right.
__________________
"The nature of the universe is such that ends can never justify the means. On the contrary, the means always determine the end." ---Aldous Huxley
speakeasy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-10-2010, 20:02   #4
Senior Cruiser
 
osirissail's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: A real life Zombie from FL
Boat: Gulfstar 53 - Osiris
Posts: 5,416
Images: 2
You need to do some simple inspections BEFORE you start turning the wheel to its stops. Get into the rudder quadrant area where the hydraulic ram is located and see if there are any rudder stops (blocks or external brace that mechanically stops the rudder when it gets to its limit.
- - Have somebody turn the wheel while you watch how the hydraulic ram works/extends the piston. The rudder stop should be set to physically stop the quadrants/rudder before the hydraulic ram piston gets to its end. Banging the piston against the internal end of the hydraulic ram assembly is really bad for the unit and will promote leaking. Do the test both ways, port and starboard wheel turns.
- - If the ram and rudder extend all the way and you can still turn the wheel more then there is definitely a leak in the system somewhere.
- - Normally hydraulic steering systems have a reservoir tank mounted somewhere. This tank holds the extra hydraulic fluid in the system and has an air pressure pump built in. The reservoir tank is normally pressurized to to about 30 psi. This stop foaming and ensures that no "air blocks" occur in the system.
- - If the rudder hits the stops and the wheel keeps turning - and - there is no fluid loss evident anywhere then the pistons in the steering wheel pump are leaking/bypassing fluid. This could account for your 30 turns in one direction over a period of time.
- - Fluid loss is an easy fix. Find the leak and repair it. Piston pump leakage means buying a new steering pump. Hydraulic ram bypass leakage can normally be fixed with a hydraulic ram repair kits of parts and seals. If the piston rod is corroded or rusted due to water then you need a new hydraulic ram and fix the water leak or at least shield the hydraulic ram from getting wet.
- - Try to avoid letting the wheel get turned far enough to engage the rudder stops. Hydraulic steering is extremely powerful and can bend things or pound the stops until they crumble or fall apart.
__________________
osirissail is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
hydraulic steering

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Hydraulic Steering NoTies Propellers & Drive Systems 40 13-05-2016 17:54
Hydraulic Steering kavw Propellers & Drive Systems 2 04-10-2010 18:32
Converting Tiller Steering to Hydraulic Steering drewan08 Construction, Maintenance & Refit 6 31-03-2010 18:30
Hydraulic Self-Steering dana-tenacity Auxiliary Equipment & Dinghy 12 30-12-2009 14:37



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:01.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.